Preparing for Christmas

Well I've been getting organised for christmas! Done most of the present shopping and wrapping which i'm very pleased about. Plus made a few yummy edible gifts.

A few people wanted the recipes so thought i'd post them on my blog. Let me know if you try any!

Rachel Allen's Fudge

375g condensed Milk
450g golden caster sugar
100g butter
1tsp vanilla essence (if required or 75g of chocolate chips)

1. melt the butter then add milk and sugar, cook for 10 to 15 minutes on a low heat.
2. fill the sink with some water and place this pan on and mix this mixture with some minutes. this will make the mixture hard quickly. when grainy, its time to put into a baking tray.

3. then put this mixture on the tin and spread out about 1cm think.
4. let it cool for about 5 minutes and you have to cut the shape within 3 to 5 minutes otherwise this mixture will very hard.
I put mine in cellophane gift bags here is a link for some I have used http://www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk/acatalog/Cello_Bags.html

Pear Chutney

1kg (about 6) ripe pears
150g ready-to-eat dried prunes, chopped
150g sultanas
150g raisins
200g shallots, finely sliced
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
300g light muscovado sugar
1 cinnamon stick
600ml cider vinegar

1. Peel and core the pears, then chop them into chunks. Place them in a pan with the prunes, sultanas, raisins, shallots, apples, sugar and cinnamon stick. Pour in half of the cider vinegar, season and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Cook for 25 minutes more, until tender.

2. Pour in the rest of the cider vinegar and cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. If it’s still runny, simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

3. Divide the hot chutney between sterilised jars, place a disc of waxed paper directly onto the chutney and seal with airtight lids or cellophane and elastic bands. Leave to cool.

Chocolate Winter Bark- Delicious Magazine

225g white chocolate, chopped
350g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
200g salted peanuts

1. Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring now and then, until melted. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, in a separate heatproof bowl, melt the dark chocolate over another pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally in the same way.

2. Stir the peanuts into the dark chocolate.
Spread out on a baking paper-lined baking sheet, so that the peanuts form a single layer.
Drop spoonfuls of white chocolate on top, and swirl both chocolates together using a skewer or the end of a spoon (so that it looks like tree bark). Allow to cool.

3. Set in the fridge for about 1 hour. Break the bark into large pieces.
Again I will put these in cello bags and tie with ribbon.

Easy Strawberry Jam

1kg/2lb strawberries

1kg caster sugar

The zest and juice of 1 lemon

Place the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest into a saucepan. Place over a low heat and simmer very gently until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to high and boil vigorously for 10 minutes.
Do the wrinkle test (see introduction); if the jam has set, remove it from the heat and leave in the pan for 10 minutes to ensure even distribution of fruit and juice.

Spoon into sterilised jars, seal and allow to cool before storing in the fridge or cool place.
I cut out circles in fabric and placed over jam jars and tied with ribbon/string.

I'm planning to make some xmas decorations etc but need to get a sewing machine 1st. I'm planning to get on this weekend. So will post some updates once i've made some bits.